ACK Software Controls IRC Log (Part two)

Date 25-May-2006 13:17:02
Topic: Hardware News


This is an IRC log of the 'ack on the fly' interview (round two). I did my best to put the questions and the answers in the correct sequence. So, please, forgive any mistakes. In the evening, there was a chat session regarding the new powervixxen name, but that is another story. Enjoy.

Breaking News: The highend board will be named "PowerVixxen TL" - Thunder & Lightning

<AmigaBlitter> uh? Still you here?
<ackcontrols> yes
<AmigaBlitter> So the PCI-e is only a question of driver?
<ackcontrols> Graphics card support.
<ackcontrols> No sense in putting PCI Express on if we can't support any gfx cards.

<AmigaBlitter> You have all the technicals info and knowlege to put the PCI-e in the board?
<ackcontrols> That's the easy part.

<AmigaBlitter> If the ati range are supported by Hyperion, why not use the PCI-e?
<ackcontrols> If there are PCI Express cards from ATI that Hyperion can support, then PCI
Express is going on the board.
<AmigaBlitter> wow

<AmigaBlitter> can i add to the old Q&A?
<ackcontrols> sure
<AmigaBlitter> good
<AmigaBlitter> Thank you and good work
<ackcontrols> your welcom
<ackcontrols> your welcome I mean

15:23:58 <ackcontrols> hello
15:32:36 <ackcontrols> jahc: BTW, what price point do you have in your head
anyway?
15:32:48 <jahc> ackcontrols: $750 nzd would be nice :/
15:32:58 <jahc> ackcontrols: I know you cant make it lower because the 7448 is so costly
15:33:05 <ackcontrols> And what's that in USD as a reference?
15:33:07 <jahc> ackcontrols: we dont need to go down this road
15:33:25 <jahc> about $500 usd
15:33:31 <ackcontrols> jahc: I'm curious as if you thing it's expensive, others do as well.
15:33:45 <jahc> ackcontrols: every amiga owners dream is to have amiga hardware at pc prices
15:33:58 <jahc> but thats not going to happen.
15:34:03 <ackcontrols> PC prices isn't posible.....
15:35:16 <jahc> ackcontrols: I know its not possible, I just said its every amiga owners dream.

15:34:22 <foody> now that is over with, ackcontrols, can one disable PV by pressing 2 during startup?
15:35:25 <ackcontrols> foody: I didn't put that in the firmware and simplified the h/w so it just takes over the A1200's bus...so it's not going to be doable.
15:35:42 <foody> Ah ok :S
15:36:05 <foody> I suppose when one buys PV he is doing it because he no longer wants to use the classic stuff anyways and wants to run OS 4.0 in his A1200 case..
15:36:22 <ackcontrols> foody: yeah, that's the point.

15:36:25 <jahc> ackcontrols: is $600 usd doable?
15:36:38 <foody> jahc why are making it more expensive
15:36:44 <jahc> ackcontrols: $700 usd? hehe
15:36:52 <foody> the guy was selling it for 499 now you want it to be 600!?
15:37:03 <jahc> foody: I'm talking about the highend board not the PowervixenLT
15:37:09 <foody> oooh
15:37:14 <foody> ok...* whistles innocently then *
15:37:26 <ackcontrols> It all comes down to what's on the board.
15:38:06 <jahc> ackcontrols: dont take my comments personally about the price.... I'm only complaining because I want one so bad!
15:38:23 <ackcontrols> jahc: I understand, and I'm always working to bring cost down.

15:38:40 <jahc> ackcontrols: have you made a decision on how many PCI slots? seems people want more
15:38:46 <ackcontrols> For all intents and purposes the only way to make a low-end board cost effective is to make it a stripper board.
15:39:19 <ackcontrols> see....can't please everyone
15:39:44 <foody> ackcontrols just do what you are doing, you know best over us all
15:39:52 <foody> and we will be like children screaming to get our hands on them
15:40:02 <OrginWork> And beyond all considerations, it's better to get somethign out (to those who want to pay for it) than to fiddle around with onboard details.
15:40:04 <ackcontrols> The best way to realize a lesser expensive board is to put the CPU right on the board, leave it PCI only and put lots of slots with nothing else onboard.

15:40:16 <AmigaBlitter> Ack you produce the board yourself or there is a company that you use for series production?
15:40:51 <ackcontrols> AmigaBlitter: I have a company I deal with when volumes are over 100 boards.

15:41:59 <AmigaBlitter> For the PCI-e problems, you tried to contact Matrox for the tech info?
15:42:43 <ackcontrols> Matrox has headed into a different direction....considered them, but not confident their boards will meet our PCI Express requirements.
15:42:56 <ackcontrols> My preference is to deal with ATI.
15:44:13 <ackcontrols> If the OS4 team can produce Warp3D and Picasso drivers for an ATI PCI Express board....PCI Express is going to be on the high end board.

15:45:46 <AmigaBlitter> Rogue and Entzilha are aware of this?
15:46:20 <ackcontrols> AmigaBlitter: Rogue for sure....TF....if he's reading OS4-Developer...yes.

15:43:07 <foody> ackcontrols and when a company does deal with you..would
15:43:34 <ackcontrols> foody: I don't quite understand the question?
15:44:11 <foody> I mean...hmm..better phrase it this way: If say you start selling at your expected quota and more..would that mean you can make a deal with a company where you can mass produce your products?
15:44:49 <ackcontrols> foody: When the market is over 100,000 potential customers in a short time....that would be when it's time to mass produce.

16:21:58 <jahc> ackcontrols: have you made a decision on how many PCI slots to have?
16:22:39 <jahc> I think I could live with 3.
16:22:52 <jahc> but then I wouldnt be able to play with anything in the future.. like tv card, catweasel, etc..
16:26:49 <ackcontrols> jahc: At present, one PCI Express 16x slot, 1 PCI 66 and 4 PCI 33/66
16:27:01 <wegster> ackcontrols: really?

16:27:20 <wegster> (pcie). Is it a real pcie or adapted to standard pci bus?
16:27:26 <ackcontrols> That's the present direction.
16:27:47 <wegster> ackcontrols: as in real pcie?
16:27:53 <wegster> that would be...very nice.

16:27:57 <ackcontrols> PCI 1x from PCI connected to PCI-E 16x slot
16:28:11 <ackcontrols> Feedback is we can't take advantage of all the bandwidth
16:28:23 <wegster> ackcontrols: oh, so it isn't a real pcie slot, pci limited bandwidth then. Still good ideaf or cards tho
16:28:28 <ackcontrols> The only option ATM is 1x or 4x
16:28:49 <ackcontrols> PCI-E 1x gets you 250MB/s bandwidth from a PCI 66 bus
16:28:51 <wegster> ackcontrols: currently, likely true. (bw). 1x or 4x what, agp or pcie lanes?
16:29:07 <wegster> ackcontrols: yes, vs what, 2GB/sec for pcie-16?
16:29:42 <ackcontrols> PCI-E 8x is roughly AGP 8x
16:30:08 <wegster> nod, 256MB/sec is only agp 1x equiv
16:30:29 <ackcontrols> yes, which is what we would get in an AGP 1x (pci mode) slot anyway.
16:30:44 <ackcontrols> It's more a question of form factor and gfx card availability than anything else.
16:31:19 <wegster> ackcontrols: sure, understand that. ppl will gripe, but even pcie routed as normal pci is better than normal pci, etc..so an ok compromise I guess.
16:31:33 <ackcontrols> engineering is always a compromise.
16:31:58 <SLayeRDK> heh lifes a compromise most of the time :)
16:32:10 <wegster> too bad no easy way to do real pcie x16. Heh, aware of that one very much lately (nearing product release, last minute feature drops and changes out the ass )
16:32:11 <ackcontrols> Once the Tsi110 is available...it's a bit of a different story.
16:32:52 <wegster> ackcontrols: how many pcie lanes does tsi110 handle?
16:33:03 <ackcontrols> 2 ports of PCI-E 4x
16:34:34 <wegster> ackcontrols: that wouldn't be bad. Damn, no pcie 16 though...
16:35:04 <wegster> hrm, pcie x4 ~ agp8x tho, so not bad at all on 4x

16:36:02 <Wed> Would PCIe be all that much of a fuss on a classic system?
16:36:43 <ackcontrols> Wed: It would be like retrofitting warp drive to a lawn mower.
16:37:06 <ackcontrols> It's doable, but what's the point.
16:37:22 <Wed> Yeah, I understand, but the rest of the system ought to be able keep up to make use of it, or am I totally off?
16:38:26 <ackcontrols> The Zorro III bus is the bottleneck on the A3/4K systems.....even with PCI boards, we don't get the full bandwidth available with the Mediator or the Prometheus.

16:39:38 <SLayeRDK> ackcontrols i guess you will leave case to dealers and buyers, right ?
16:40:00 <ackcontrols> cases are a personal decision.
16:40:19 <ackcontrols> I'll make the board fit in standard cases and the customer can do the rest.

16:41:23 <SLayeRDK> ackcontrols you have time for all this questions ? :)
16:41:30 <ackcontrols> not really
16:41:58 <ackcontrols> but I value the feedback
16:42:20 <Wed> We value the ability to have info direct from the source
16:42:56 <SLayeRDK> yep i fully agree on that

16:43:33 <AmigaBlitter> Your company, ack, is also capable of producing or assemble the troika mobo or hardware from others?
16:49:40 <ackcontrols> AmigaBlitter: I'm presently expanding operations to include design/prototype/manufacturing for 3rd parties.
16:49:48 <AmigaBlitter> cool
16:50:28 <ackcontrols> The intent is to be self-sufficient enough to make this worthwhile.
16:50:47 <AmigaBlitter> good i mean

16:51:15 <AmigaBlitter> Is it possible to have only one company (your for example) that coordinate all the Amiga Hardware production?
16:52:02 <ackcontrols> I'm under the impression there are others doing h/w. There is room for various products as people have different needs and budgets.

16:52:14 <cgutjahr> ackcontrols: are you financing all of this on your own?
16:52:46 <ackcontrols> Not at the moment, but can if necessary.

16:57:43 <AmigaBlitter> You are fast and smart, ack
17:00:10 <AmigaBlitter> Would be great if you coordinate all the effort to produce hardware, ack

17:00:44 <cgutjahr> AmigaBlitter: why would you (as a user) want to have only one hardware manufacturer?
17:01:00 <cgutjahr> not to mention that Troika's PR is even worse than adam's
17:01:51 <AmigaBlitter> Better one strong hardware producer than many weaks
17:02:20 <SLayeRDK> think Troika needs to make a plan for their web site
17:02:40 <SLayeRDK> or dont have one at all
17:02:43 <cgutjahr> SLayeRDK: I think troika needs to shut up until they demonstrated something
17:02:46 <AmigaBlitter> And i said "coordinate"
17:03:21 <cgutjahr> SLayeRDK: hehe

17:06:40 <AmigaBlitter> Ack, could you explain what kind of company do you have?
17:07:30 <ackcontrols> My company does design and engineering work, primarily controls engineering.
17:08:46 <ackcontrols> Technically, my company does a bit of everything.
17:09:20 <AmigaBlitter> How many employee works for you?
17:09:22 <SLayeRDK> ackcontrols privately owned ? and how many are you ?
17:09:40 <ackcontrols> Privately owned and there are four of us.
17:10:24 <AmigaBlitter> All employee are engineer?

17:10:44 <jahc> ackcontrols; sorry if I missed your answer to my question before, but is the number of PCI slots definately going to be 3?
17:11:38 <ackcontrols> 1 pci express 16x (using pci-e 1x) 1 pci 66 and 4 pci 33/66
17:12:35 <AmigaBlitter> 6 in total
17:13:01 <ssolie> ackcontrols: wow.. back on again? you addicted to IRC now as well?
17:13:15 <ackcontrols> lol
17:13:23 <ackcontrols> getting feedback / bouncing off ideas
17:13:31 <jahc> ackcontrols: wow! 5 pci slots would be GREAT
17:13:54 <ssolie> ackcontrols: hopefully the little news item helped a bit as well.. seems they really want pci-e
17:13:56 <ackcontrols> jahc: But also, going to drop onboard USB.
17:14:05 <jahc> I could get a catweasel mk4 and a tv tuner!

17:14:31 <zerohero> ackcontrols: with all these changes planned now, wouldn't that delay the board until q2 2007 at least? with betatesting, porting of os4, licenses and all?
17:14:57 <AmigaBlitter> No, zerohero
17:14:59 <ackcontrols> zerohero: No
17:15:03 <AmigaBlitter> lol
17:15:10 <zerohero> ackcontrols: how come?
17:15:34 <AmigaBlitter> ack took only 2 weeks to make the board? is this true ack?
17:15:36 <SLayeRDK> zerohero porting is hyperions job, and they have said a port to another PPC cpu would take a month
17:15:48 <jahc> ackcontrols: please dont drop USB..
17:16:19 <ackcontrols> PCI 66 slot if for combo USB/SATA board.
17:16:32 <zerohero> ackcontrols: please, how come it won't take longer?
17:17:06 <AmigaBlitter> Ack, adding 2 more usb ports will cost more or less than 30$
17:17:24 <ackcontrols> The difficult parts of the design are complete. Reworking a PCB design and getting a prototype made doesn't take long at all.
17:17:50 <ssolie> zerohero: that is a really weird question dude.. if he wants to give us products sooner; don't argue! :)
17:18:00 <ackcontrols> There are companies that make their living turning prototype around in 24 to 48 hours.
17:18:18 <zerohero> ssolie: not about what he wants, how come he is able to do that?
17:18:59 <ssolie> zerohero: just simple board mfg'ing... I used to make boards in university, took about a week to get a prototype back
17:19:03 <zerohero> ackcontrols: but betatesting it completely might take quite long, ask my xe about it ;)

17:19:38 <ackcontrols> beta-testing for the XE took as long as it did because os4 wasn't ready.
17:19:48 <ackcontrols> When you have something ready...it's a whole lot quicker.
17:20:06 <zerohero> i hope so...

17:20:12 <ssolie> I would think the XE design is much more complex as well no?
17:20:16 <ackcontrols> Too many issues with Articia and VIA added to complexities along with the fact that most stuff wasn't even finished.
17:20:25 <ackcontrols> The XE is more complex.
17:20:39 <ackcontrols> It has more parts
17:20:49 <ackcontrols> I'm stripping out complexity

17:19:27 <AmigaBlitter> Ack, maybe you miss the question:
17:19:30 <AmigaBlitter> Ack, adding 2 more usb ports will cost more or less than 30$?
17:21:03 <ackcontrols> AmigaBlitter: Why the urge for USB?
17:21:19 <ackcontrols> $69.00 USD gets a 5 port USB + 2 port SATA combo board.
17:21:56 <AmigaBlitter> For me, no problems. I saw the other need more. Is it possible to use an USB hub or something similar?


17:22:01 <cgutjahr> ackcontrols: and why the pcie slot? (just wondering about the motivation)
17:22:33 <ackcontrols> It comes down to part availability.
17:22:40 <ackcontrols> AGP cards are getting less available.
17:23:22 <jahc> ackcontrols: are you dropping AGP altogether?
17:23:25 <ackcontrols> Whether I put an AGP or a PCI-E slot on the board requires the same amount of work
17:23:36 <ackcontrols> It's going to be one or the other and not both.
17:23:55 <ackcontrols> If the OS4 team can support PCI-Express, it is my preference.
17:24:04 <ackcontrols> As that is the way the next design is heading anyway.
17:24:10 <ackcontrols> Meaning the Tsi110 board.
17:24:18 <cgutjahr> ackcontrols: okay, I see. thx.

17:25:24 <jahc> ackcontrols: are the existing supported Radeon chipsets available on PCI-Express? or would PCI-Express drivers have to be written from the ground up?
17:25:47 <ackcontrols> jahc: I'm awaiting feedback from the OS4 team.
17:26:08 <ackcontrols> It looks like supporting some Radeon PCI Express cards is doable.
17:26:19 <ackcontrols> If that's the case...PCI Express is going on the board.
17:26:29 <ackcontrols> And AGP goes away.

17:28:39 <cgutjahr> ackcontrols: can you be more specific re "I don't expect any problems regarding licensing"?
17:29:25 <ackcontrols> cgutjahr: I've spent too much time on the licensing and not enough time on the h/w.....

17:32:15 <AmigaBlitter> There are other question for Ack?
17:37:56 <AmigaBlitter> Ack, you are a hero for the Amiga Users
17:42:05 <ssolie> ackcontrols: I challenged HJF to deliver OS 4.1 with your next board.. let's see if he takes it :)
17:51:49 <AmigaBlitter> OK
17:51:58 <AmigaBlitter> Tahnk you, ack (adam)
17:52:06 <AmigaBlitter> thank you...
17:52:22 <ssolie> AmigaBlitter star reporter
17:52:45 <AmigaBlitter> hehe




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